USA Network: Wikis

  
  

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USA Network
PerfectUSA.svg
Launched September 27, 1977 (1977-09-27)
Owned by NBC Universal, Inc.
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Slogan "Characters Welcome"
Headquarters New York City, U.S.
Formerly called Madison Square Garden Network (1977–1979)
Website http://www.usanetwork.com
Availability
Satellite
DirecTV Channel 242
Dish Network Channel 105
C band Galaxy 14-Channel 19
Cable
Available on most cable systems Check Local Listings for channels

USA Network (commonly referred to as USA) is an American cable television channel launched in 1977. Once a minor player in basic cable, the network has steadily gained popularity because of breakout hits like the detective series Monk, the fake psychic crime-solving series Psych, the covert-operations spy series Burn Notice, the return of WWE Raw, the science fiction mini-series turned regular series The 4400, and the Stephen King–based psychic series The Dead Zone. Reruns of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and NCIS are also frequently shown. Other syndicated programs on the network include Becker, House, JAG, Wings and Walker, Texas Ranger. The network also broadcasts a variety of films from the Universal Studios library.

Contents

History

Early years

USA Network's very first logo that was used before 1996

USA Network premiered on September 27, 1977, originally organized as the Madison Square Garden Network (not to be confused with the New York City regional sports network of that name). The channel became one of the first national cable television channels when it chose to use satellite delivery as opposed to microwave relay to cable systems.

On April 9, 1979, the channel changed its name to USA Network after the ownership structure was reorganized under a joint operating agreement by the UA-Columbia Cablevision cable system (now known as Cablevision Systems Corporation) and MCA Inc./Universal City Studios (whose assets are currently owned largely by NBC Universal and Vivendi SA).

Later, in 1982, Time, Inc. (which would go on to merge with Warner Communications to become Time Warner) and Gulf+Western's Paramount Pictures unit (now part of Viacom) would buy stakes in the venture. MCA/Universal and the latter company would become the sole owners in 1987 (each owning 50%).

One tradition was that USA Network launched a lineup of afternoon game shows, mostly reruns, but there were several original low-budget productions they've aired over the years. It began in October 1984 with reruns of The Gong Show and Make Me Laugh. In September 1985, the network began airing revival of Jackpot. An original show was added in September 1986: Love Me, Love Me Not. More shows were progressively added soon after such as the The Joker's Wild, Tic-Tac-Dough, Press Your Luck, High Rollers, and Hollywood Squares with John Davidson, along with Wipeout, Face the Music, and Name That Tune. Another original show was added in June 1987 called Bumper Stumpers.

1990s

The second USA Network logo. This time a star was attached to the word "U"

The tradition continued into the '90s with the $25,000 and $100,000 Pyramids, the early '90s revivals of The Joker's Wild and Tic-Tac-Dough plus other well-known shows such as Scrabble, Sale of the Century, Talk About and, Caesars Challenge. Two more original shows were added in June 1994: Free 4 All and Quicksilver. When it began, the game show block ran for an hour. By 1989, the network ran game shows from noon to 5 p.m. five days a week. The block was decreased in September 1991 from only 2 to 5 p.m. Another hour was added in March 1993. In November 1994, it was cut back to only two hours from 2 to 4 p.m. In October 1995, the network dropped the entire game show block. Some of the game shows that USA broadcast can still be seen on GSN.

On September 24, 1992, USA launched a sister network, the Sci Fi Channel, which in July 2009 was renamed Syfy. In 1997, three years after the Paramount/Viacom merger, that company sold its stake in the networks to Universal (which, along with parent MCA, changed ownership twice earlier in the 1990s: to Matsushita in 1991, and then Seagrams in 1995, the latter company making Universal Studios the corporate name of its media division in 1997). Seagrams/Universal subsequently sold the networks to Barry Diller.

In the late '90s, USA also had a block called USAM in the mornings which defined Primetime Comedy in the Morning. This block included mostly sitcoms and the Bob Saget era of America's Funniest Home Videos from 1989–1997. USA Cartoon Express also lived here.

Alan Kalter was the network's main promotional voice throughout the 1980s and much of the 1990s; his voice is still heard in the disclaimer spiel prior to their showing of infomercials.[citation needed]

USA also simulcasted Bloomberg TV in the early-morning hours; that simulcast moved to E! in 2004.

2000s

The third logo of USA Network. It was updated twice due to NTSC rastors

In 2000, USA Networks bought Canada's North American Television, Inc. (a joint partnership between the CBC and Power Corporation of Canada), owner of cable TV channels Trio and Newsworld International (the CBC continued to program NWI until 2005, when eventual USA owner Vivendi sold the channel to a group led by Al Gore, who relaunched it as Current TV).

In 2001, USA Networks sold its non-shopping TV and film assets (including the USA Network, the Sci Fi Channel, the Trio channel, USA Films (which is rechristened as Focus Features) and Studios USA) to Vivendi Universal. USA and the other channels are folded into Vivendi's Universal Television Group.

In 2003, General Electric's NBC agreed to buy 80% of Vivendi Universal's North American–based filmed entertainment assets, including Universal Pictures and Universal Television Group in a multibillion dollar purchase, renaming the merged company NBC Universal.

In 2004, NBC Universal officially took over as owner of USA and its sibling cable channels (except for Newsworld International as stated above).

USA Network launched a high definition version of the channel broadcasting in 1080i on October 3, 2007.[1] and is currently available on DirecTV, Dish Network, and several other cable systems,[2][3]

NBC Universal announced before NBC released their 2007–08 fall schedule on May 13, 2007 that Criminal Intent would be renewed for a seventh season. However, the new episodes of the series would premiere on USA beginning in fall 2007, with episodes repeating later in the season on NBC, most likely to shore up any programming holes created by a failed series. Although this is not the first time a broadcast series has moved to cable (as early as 1987, NBC's revival of Alfred Hitchcock Presents moved to USA Network), it is a first in that a series which moved to cable will continue to show episodes on a broadcast network during its first-run era [4]. On December 7, 2007, it was announced that USA Network would continue broadcasting first-run episodes of WWE Monday Night Raw until 2010.[5]

In 2008, USA announced a new original series In Plain Sight, starring Mary McCormack, focusing on a United States Marshal working for the Witness Protection Program. The show was filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The series debuted June 1, 2008 with some fairly high ratings. It became USA's highest-rated series premiere since the premiere of Psych in 2006 with 5.3 million viewers.[6] And on April 19, 2009 at 9:00 p.m. EST, Criminal Intent's Season 8 premiere will air after being rescheduled from November 2007. And In Plain Sight's second season will premiere after that at 10:00 p.m. (Eastern).

In early 2009, USA Network acquired the network television rights for 24 recent and upcoming Universal Pictures films for $200 million. Among the films included in the deal are Milk, Frost/Nixon, Duplicity, State of Play, Land of the Lost and Funny People.[7] As of January 18, 2009 it has been noted that House is the highest-rated drama on USA Network (to this day) surpassing both Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, with In Plain Sight, Monk and NCIS.

Monk (which has returned for its last season) and Psych returned Friday, August 7, 2009. Monk's series finale was on Friday, December 4, 2009. Psych paused mid-season on Friday, October 16, 2009 and will resume the airing of the 4th season's episodes in January 2010. USA's newest series White Collar premiered on Friday, October 23, 2009 and its fall finale was Friday, December 4, 2009 (with the series finale of "Monk") and is returning in January 2010.

2010s

In 2010, USA Network started occupying weeknights with the networks original series. After the 2009–2010 season break, Burn Notice resumed airing the remainder of the 3rd season's episodes on Thursdays at 10PM (Eastern)/9PM (Central) as well as it being renewed for a 4th season starting Spring-Summer 2010. White Collar returned as well airing the remaining episodes of its first season on a new night and at a new time; on Tuesdays at 10PM (Eastern)/9PM (Central). Psych returned on a new night and at a new time; on Wednesdays at 10PM (Eastern)/9PM (Central).

While previous Sunday night series Law & Order: Criminal Intent and In Plain Sight return with their new seasons starting March 30, 2010, (IPS on March 31) at 10PM (Eastern)/9PM (Central) though USA is taking 'the darkness' out of both shows with major cast reductions, and fans of both shows try to keep the show's current formats the same. And Summer medical drama Royal Pains is returning Spring-Summer 2010.[8] After USA's 2010 TV season finishes its runs; full seasons will expand from 16 episodes to 20-24 episodes (though first run series will maintain its usual 12-14 episodes) to make season breaks last a shorter period (ex. Burn Notice's season split from August 6, 2009 to January 21, 2010; approx. 5 months).[citation needed]

In March, Burn Notice (March 4), White Collar (March 9), and Psych (March 10) will reach their season finales. In turn Law & Order: Criminal Intent will occupy Tuesday nights and In Plain Sight will occupy Wednesday nights starting March 30.[9][10]

Programming

Upcoming pilots/series

Sports

The network is the longtime home of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, and was the longtime cable home of the United States Open (tennis), which moved to ESPN2 & the Tennis Channel as of 2009. Since 2004, they have broadcast portions of the Olympic Games, along with many other NBC Universal basic cable channels. Previously, it had a weekly boxing show named USA Tuesday Night Fights, which ran for 17 years. USA is also the home of World Wrestling Entertainment's (then called the World Wrestling Federation) flagship cable TV show WWE Raw from its debut in January 1993 until September 2000, and currently since October 2005. Each April from 1982–2007, USA broadcast the opening two rounds of the Masters Tournament along with high-definition coverage on Universal HD. The coverage switched to ESPN in 2008.

Trademarks

USA Network slogans

  • April 9, 1979–September 10, 1989: It's a Great Place to Stay (1st logo only)
  • April 9, 1979–September 10, 1989: (used concurrently) America's All-Entertainment Network (1st logo only)
  • September 11, 1989–September 12, 1993: America's Favorite Cable Network (1st logo only)
  • September 13, 1993–May 31, 1996: The Remote Stops Here (1st logo only)
  • June 1, 1996–July 3, 1999: The Cure for the Common Show (2nd logo only)
  • July 4, 1999–July 2005: You Are Here (3rd, 4th, and 5th logos)
    • This logo initially had 7 stripes, but due to problems with the NTSC rastor causing problems with the station ID bug, it was later changed to 5 stripes.
  • July 2005–present: Characters Welcome (6th logo only)
    • This slogan incorporates the use of television spots featuring USA original characters interacting with each other or the world (with humorous effect).

Voiceover artists

  • Alan Kalter (1980s-early 1990s)
  • Dick Frier, end credits V/O (1985-1996)
  • Fred Harrison, end credits V/O (1997-1998), main V/O artist (1997-2003)
  • Jerry Combs (2004–present)
  • Lou Cohen (2004–present)
  • Dick Feldman, end credits V/O (1996-1998)
  • Frank Walker, main V/O artist (1997-2001), end credits V/O (1998 only)

USA Network stopped using voiceovers during the show's closing credits in 1998.

Various USA Network idents

USA Network opened each show in its past years with its station idents. Here are some of them from 1996 to 1999.

  • From 1996-1998, two "USA Studios" idents were used, one with the studios' entrance with a rock version of the USA Network jingle of that period, and one with the control room with a disco version of the jingle.
  • From 1998-1999, two new "USA Studios" idents were used with the announcer saying "You're watching USA Network", a short version and a longer version.

International

Canada

In February 2007, Shaw Communications submitted an application to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), to bring the USA Network to Canada (and to automatically allow all English-language general interest cable networks from the USA into Canada). However, because of programming rights issues in Canada, certain programs would be subjected to blackout, including WWE Raw.[18] In September 2007, the commission refused Shaw Communications' request to carry USA Network into Canada because it had too much programming that overlapped with Mystery TV. Mystery TV is an English language digital cable specialty channel that is owned by CanWest MediaWorks Inc. and Groupe TVA.[19] However, on September 20, 2007, the CRTC did say they would reconsider their denial of USA Network, when Shaw Communications instead offered to carry USA Network on their digital cable packages, at a future date.[20]

South America

Countries in Latin America such as Brazil previously had their own USA Network versions, but in 2003, most were renamed Universal Channel to take advantage of the more well-known brand and reduce the awkwardness of a channel branded with the initials of another nation.

Ratings

USA was the #1 network in basic cable prime, delivering more P25-54 (1.33 million, +23% over #2 TNT) and P18-49 (1.30 million, +16% over #2 TBS) than any other network the third straight year. In 2008, USA was also the top network in basic cable prime among total viewers (2.84 million, +19% over #2 Disney Channel) and households (2.11 million, +17% over #2 Disney Channel).

USA's 2008 average for P25-54 (1.33 million), P18-49 (1.30 million), total viewers (2.84 million) and households (2.11 million) is the highest ever for a basic cable network in Primetime. USA delivered more P25-54, P18-49, and total viewers than The CW in prime (Mon-Sun 8P-11P). This is the first time a cable network has beaten a broadcast network.[citation needed]

See also

References

External links








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